When laying the groundwork for the telecommunications industry, it is essential to dig ditches. They move miles and miles of earth to get all of the cables laid where they need to be. There was a time when all of this digging had to be done by hand, with nothing but shovels and hard work.
But thanks to the Ditch Witch, this work takes a fraction of the time and with less manpower needed. That saves money and keeps workers healthy.
But what exactly is a Ditch Witch? Let’s take a look at this fascinating piece of heavy equipment and discover it can help you in your business.
What Is a Ditch Witch?
Originally, Ditch Witch referred to one specific piece of equipment. It was an innovative design introduced by Charles Machine Works in the late 1940s.
The folks at Charles Machine Works saw that more and more people wanted electricity, plumbing, and telephones in their homes at that time. They realized that if they could find a way to dig ditches for pipes, wires, and other underground utilities with a machine, they would have an incredible business opportunity on their hands.
At the time, the only machines that could move large amounts of earth in a quick manner were huge, like the steam shovel. There was no machine that handled the precision needed for digging the smaller trenches used to install the new technology that was coming out at the time.
That’s where the Ditch Witch comes in. Its design allows the user to dig with incredible speed and accuracy. It was an unprecedented design and it became a new standard for contractors everywhere almost overnight.
Charles Machine Works wanted to change the game, and all went according to plan. Though the term once referred only to a walk-behind trencher, Ditch Witch now refers to a whole line of trenchers and directional drills.
What Does a Ditch Witch Do?
Although there are many kinds of Ditch Witches nowadays, they all serve the same essential function. They are able to lift and move dirt in a continuous line, leaving a trench in their wake.
Some Ditch Witches can be pushed along from behind. These are known as walk-behind trenchers. Others can be driven much like a tractor. But they all allow the user to dig trenches in straight lines, around curves, or in any other pattern, they may be necessary.
The Ditch Witch was a revolution, especially for those living in rural areas. Now, sprinkler systems could be installed over an entire farm by laying pipes under the fields. Electricity could be wired from power plants even if they were miles away.
These projects would have taken hundreds if not thousands of man-hours before the invention of the Ditch Witch, all done with shovels and picks. The cost would have made such an endeavor unrealistic. But now the job could be done by just a small crew and in a short amount of time.
Almost any modern building was put together with the help of a Ditch Witch. If it has electricity and running water, you can be sure of it.
How Does a Ditch Witch Work?
The design of a ditch is something like a chainsaw with little buckets running around the belt instead of blades. When you touch the running Ditch Witch to the ground, each little bucket scoops up a bit of dirt, carries it up, and then dumps it off to the side in a neat pile. Then it goes back around the belt to repeat the process again and again.
The original Ditch Witch was pushed from behind with the help of a small engine, much like most gas-powered lawnmowers of today. These are ideal for most trench work. But larger trenchers do exist for big jobs, and you can sit on these and drive them.
Ditch Witch Locators
While a Ditch Witch is a powerful tool on its own, they almost always used in conjunction with an important accessory. These are called Ditch Witch Locators.
These devices send signals into the ground to detect existing utilities and obstructions. These are crucial for finding pipes and wires in need of repair or avoiding rock formations that could damage your equipment.
Without a locator, it could take all day to dig a trench in the right spot. You would also be in danger of digging too deep too fast and doing even more damage to a utility.
But with a locator, you know where to dig and how deep. This not only saves you time, but it can also help you prepare by knowing how much fuel and time you need to put aside to get the job done.
It’s important to keep your Ditch Witch Locator fully charged. Most locators have rechargeable batteries. You can browse this page to find affordable chargers. These chargers can accept both DC and AC power sources. Always make sure your locators are fully charged before starting a job. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail!
The Ditch Witch: One of the Most Important Feats of Engineering
It is rare that a whole new type of tool comes along. It is even rarer that it will become a standard throughout the construction industry. But with the advent of new technology, the engineers at Charles Machine Works back in the forties hit upon something that would change the way we build forever.
So the next time you enjoy a hot shower or plug in your phone charger, you can thank the Ditch Witch for laying the groundwork that makes it all possible.
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